Thought of the Day

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One’s eyes cannot see how a heart beats,
only the covetous glint of an eye.

How then to tell love from the possessive?

We move to an indecipherable rhythm
whose questions become irrelevant
in the asking.
 
 

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Why So Much Gridlock?

Dr Ben Carson
 
 
These days, the approval rating of the U.S. Congressional body ranges from bad to worse to could-it-get-any-worse. Though individual members of Congress tend to be popular (at least among their constituents), the whole is far less admired than its parts. Why should this be? To make an obvious observation: for the lack of legislative accomplishments.

Yet despite the animus this gridlock generates, the problem persists. The key to this contradiction lies in the conservative expectations of the average voter. That is to say, not politically Conservative, but rather the tendency in human nature (and in nature as a whole) toward what could be called “progress by lurches” (i.e. great periods of little activity followed by small periods of intense activity.)

In fact, many of the oldest survival strategies follow this pattern. Predators aren’t constantly hunting. They rest most of the day and expend the greater part of their energy in a few bursts of violent activity. People tend to grow bigger and stronger in spurts rather than in a uniform manner. Emotions tend to flare and burn out with great speed.

We seem very much to expect deprivation, frustrating as it may be to our immediate want. And more, we are wary (even terrified) of constant change whether broad or slight. Even favorable advances in our lives require a stilling of anxiety at a certain pace and one not equal for each person affected. But when a critical mass of citizenry is ready for progress, the change comes. And though there is always a backlash afterward from those not yet ready for this evolution, progress does tend to hold over the long term.

To paraphrase the Bible, “For every thing, for every purpose there is a time.” The world’s clock is not always wound symmetrically, but in the end, I believe, justly. Perhaps that is just the optimist’s cant. Perhaps not. Either way, the rhetoric will still fly free and endlessly while the feet beneath their origin stubbornly root against all intents great and small.
 
 

The Switzerland of Excuses

Dr Ben Carson

Mark Zuckerberg posted a slightly maddening analysis on Facebook yesterday. An excerpt:

Every day I work to bring people together and build a community for everyone. We hope to give all people a voice and create a platform for all ideas.

Trump says Facebook is against him. Liberals say we helped Trump. Both sides are upset about ideas and content they don’t like. That’s what running a platform for all ideas looks like.

. . .

After the election, I made a comment that I thought the idea misinformation on Facebook changed the outcome of the election was a crazy idea. Calling that crazy was dismissive and I regret it. This is too important an issue to be dismissive. But the data we have has always shown that our broader impact — from giving people a voice to enabling candidates to communicate directly to helping millions of people vote — played a far bigger role in this election.

The fact that even the most influential people will not take the slightest bit of responsibility for how bad things in the world have gotten really gets to me. “The bad guys are always somewhere out on the fringes and I’m just a neutral observer or facilitator of ideas.”–That’s what I keep hearing over and over again, some version of that. In reality, the natural state of things is to become disorganized and chaotic, to fall apart, to decay. If you’re “neutral” you’re just allowing the decay to take place.

Though I am one who believes that social media can be a positive benefit to society as a provider of information and a portal for communication, it must take an active role for it to do so. A passive role will merely degenerate into a fount of white noise. (see: most comment sections on news and politics sites.)

One’s only choices are to make an effort toward a desirable outcome or profit from the decline. There’s no middle ground, because the ground is always shifting. We’re in constant motion; the only question is one of inclination.

Red Skies at Night . . . But This?

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This picture doesn’t come close to capturing it, but the sun is a hazy red around here because of massive wildfires. Not as bad as Los Angeles is faring at the moment or the Gulf States for that matter. But chilling.

At any rate, my job has been a nightmare of long days lately and my wrists have been killing me, so I’ve not been on here much the last couple of weeks. Hopefully normal posting will commence soon.

Thanks to all of you for sticking with me.

Good News/Bad News

Dr Ben Carson
 
In the midst of an article posted on Five Thirty-Eight about job and wage growth in the U.S. economy, the author drops this little nugget of a statistic:

U.S. employers added 209,000 jobs in July . . . [which] marked the 82nd straight month of job growth, a record.

Quite the long haul of growth indeed. However, positive aspects aside, this just underscores how deep of a hole the economy was in that such a streak of ameliorative activity was necessary to get us to the current adequate moment. The U.S. economy is doing well but not overwhelmingly so.

The good news is that we’re not messing things up and going into negative territory again. The bad news, nearly seven years into the recovery much damage remains.